Many family daycare providers choose to use curriculum packages or programs, rather than develop themes or lessons plans from scratch.
We have been using Mother Goose time for 3 years. The kids and the parents love it, we add to it from time to time but I feel it fits my program well. I also charge a registration fee each year and that more than covers the cost of curriculum, toys and new equipment.
Mother Goose is nice, but much more of the cookie cutter type activities...everyone's pretty much looks the same no matter what they do except for color. Not too much variety or fingerplays and songs I didn't think either.
I used Mother Goose for about 2 school years (August through May). I never renewed this past August because I really only had 1 child who would benefit. I kept the books however and geared my curriculum from there when I needed ideas. It was really convenient and easy. I didn't charge the parents.
I used the Mother Goose Time program for four years, and loved it. I discontinued it last December. Since they are on a four year rotation, I have all the books and ideas from all four years. I can use some of their ideas in my own curriculum now. It worked really well for me when I had older preschoolers, but now that my group is more mixed (ages 1-5 right now) I found that I was doing a lot of the work on the crafts myself.
It is original, inventive, and hands on! As a long time licensed (10+ years) in-home childcare provider and preschool with a mixed age group of 14 months to five years, it fits the needs of every level of development.
I've been using Funshine Express for a while now and I like it because it covers more areas than just crafts. I like some of the dramatic play ideas, sensory & science ideas, etc. Some of the arts/crafts are too crafty so I usually have to substitute something a little more open ended.
I too use the Funshine Express Program and I love it! I chose to use it for all the same reasons you are considering it....having everything you need for a craft ready, save time, and they run its program thru the summer too. I tried to do my own at first, but was spending too much time, I felt, surfing for ideas. Also I was running here and there trying to find where I would get the 'best deal' for craft sticks and such. The kids love it and so do the parents. I do charge the parents $10.00 a month for the program and then I make up the additional cost
I do Funshine Express, it is great.. I have done others and my own I love funshine. I also add and take away from all of them
High Reach Learning, They're curriculm is very academic based but you have to order according to the age group you have. Last year I had all three and four year olds so it was fine but this year I'm going to have to go with one that is geared a little more towards younger children
I am going with Highreach Learning. I used it a few years ago and had like it, but thought it was expensive. After reviewing some others now, I don't think it's too expensive and I really like the material. They have different programs to choose, based on age groups.
High Reach Curriculum offers a base group for ages 3 and up. The activities can be watered down for the younger crowd and added to and enhanced for the older crowd! This way you can use your own creativity as well as one all prepared in a box!